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#WIAD16: EPAM Presenters Share Their Experience


World IA Day is a one-day annual celebration of the power of information architecture. Hosted in dozens of locations around the world, the celebration brings together a diverse community to shape the future of Information Architecture. This year, EPAM was thrilled to have three of our own experts present in two WIAD 2016 U.S. locations—Philadelphia, PA and Richmond, VA.

We caught up with the presenters to get their spin on the WIAD 2016 experience and learn more about the innovative discussions that took place at their events.

EPAM: Tell us a little bit about your presentations.

Clare Cotugno, Director of Content Strategy, and Rebecca Deery, Director of UX, at WIAD Philly:

The global theme of this year’s event was “Information Everywhere, Architects Everywhere,” so we spoke about content modeling, which allows us to organize and prioritize information for different contexts - like in-store, on a mobile device, or on a completely new interface.

We emphasized that content modeling is a collaborative activity that informs our project deliverables in many different ways and sparks collaboration with several disciplines—really proving that we need to have “architects everywhere.”

Content modeling is also about making information delivery flexible—and when modeled properly, content can be quickly delivered in different formats to meet the demands of users in those various contexts.

David Farkas, Senior UX Designer, at WIAD Richmond:

My presentation, titled “Improvised IA: How Improv Allows Everyone to Craft Products,” is a hands-on session where I introduce improvisational comedy practices as a way to translate various aspects of design and product validation. While many presentations focus on a download of content, I believe in learning by doing and provide an opportunity for practitioners (many of whom have never considered improv as an outlet for product design) to learn about and implement these techniques.

What discussions did you find most compelling at WIAD 2016?

Clare and Rebecca:

An overarching theme we noticed was about preparing for complexity. Whether it’s the evolution of interfaces, dealing the aging workforce, or managing content needs, it’s clear that our roles are becoming more challenging and more important.

Everyone was also buzzing about a presentation delivered by several Millersville University students who were introduced by their professor.  The students did a great job - performing just as well as the seasoned professionals. You can be sure we now have them on our radar as potential future EPAMers! That’s the great thing about World IA Day: You get to connect with all different kinds of people in your local IA community.


In relation to my own presentation, I was most interested in how a large number of volunteers either had never performed before, or were initially hesitant to volunteer for my presentation. Afterwards, the discussions about my presentation ranged in approach and interest, but most evident was the desire to bring these techniques to the participants’ own teams. These discussions were wonderfully in sync with many of the other presentations shared at WIAD Richmond, where the content of the presentations focused on collaboration and cross-team techniques and approaches. 

In what ways is EPAM changing how we think about information architecture?

Clare and Rebecca:

Our content modeling is setting up clients to be future-ready. Whether it’s the Internet of Things or something we can’t even imagine yet - they’ll be able to innovate quickly thanks to our work.

EPAM has tremendous opportunities as builders of end-to-end solutions. We know the technology, and we also have content-first, user-centric thinking that can empower the technology. New ways of capturing these insights may shift how we work, who we work with, and when, but I have no doubt we are up for any challenge that comes our way. 


Product design is all about collaboration. While the tools, designers, developers, and researchers change, the roles continue to blend. EPAM’s scale provides opportunities for practitioners across skillsets to collaborate. And the adaptation of improvisational skills, and other non-traditional design skills, is an avenue that EPAM can offer both in hands-on workshops and in more nuanced interactions with teams and clients alike.

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